George Frey, AP
In this March 28, 2009 photo, section boss Carrey VanBuren watches as a continuous mining machine breaks through a wall of coal at the Horizon Coal Mine outside Helper, Utah.

Coal miners are not just the "heartbeat of America," they are increasingly the heartbeat of the world. While coal is the source of almost half of all U.S. electrical demand, it constitutes 80 percent of China's, 76 percent of Australia's, 69 percent of India's and 44 percent of Germany's. By 2030, coal is forecast to provide over half of world demand.

While I am certainly sad to hear that coal miner Elam Jones died in a mining accident in Utah, he did not die in vain. He was helping provide America's (and indeed the world's) most reliable and least expensive energy source, energy that has saved countless lives.

Even though coal miners do occasionally die on the job in the U.S., President Barack Obama's focus on ending America's use of coal to generate electricity is a serious mistake. The rapidly evolving science of climate change does not support his belief that carbon dioxide emissions from coal combustion are a major contributor to dangerous climate change.

Although new technologies are making coal combustion increasingly clean and its mining increasingly safe, it will never be perfect. However, coal must remain an integral part of your country's electrical supply for the foreseeable future. Please don't ruin your most important energy source!

Tom Harris, Executive Director of International Climate Science Coalition

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada